Follow for more talkers

Sick Chihuahua flies 7,000 miles for life-saving surgery

"I was racing against the clock to help her."

Avatar photo


Blanche the chihuahua at DWR. (SWNS)

By Sophie Watson via SWNS

A devoted dog owner has gone above and beyond to save the life of her best friend – by flying her sick chihuahua 7,000 miles for surgery.

Hannah Robinson, 30, dipped into her savings to pay for her beloved pooch Blanche to undergo life-saving treatment.

The tiny 2-year-old pup was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2021, which can be deadly without surgery.

Hannah, from Kansas, frantically searched for a vet willing to operate on Blanche, who was given just 12 months to live.

The only vets who specialize in animal heart surgery were in the UK and the Far East.

Hannah contacted Dick White Referrals (DWR) in Cambridgeshire, UK, who agreed to help.

Hannah and Blanche boarded a plane to England in May last year for the surgery.

Hannah Robinson and Blanche the chihuahua at DWR. (SWNS)

Hannah said: “Blanche had been given about a year, so I was racing against the clock to help her.

“I spoke to the team at DWR and then I got the call from them to say, ‘how soon can you get here?’

“We flew there within two-and-a-half weeks and Blanche had the surgery.”

After a successful procedure, Blanche suffered a setback when she struggled to breathe on her own and needed to be placed on a ventilator.

Hannah said: “I went in to see her, gave her my shirt and said ‘Blanche, please don’t let me fly home without you.'

“But I believe in miracles and I got a call the next day to say she was improving.

“She was on the ventilator for 24 hours and then she was on oxygen for four or five days.

“Throughout, she received 24-hour nursing care and, day by day, she improved.

“I’ve never been so happy to see a dog touch grass – when she was brought out, I was in tears.”

Hannah Robinson and Blanche. (SWNS)

Blanche spent two weeks recovering before flying back to Kansas with Hannah, where she continues to enjoy a good quality of life.

Hannah said: “I still look at her and think that no matter how badly a day is going, at least I have Blanche with me.

“I never thought I would fly to the UK by myself with a sick dog. Along the way, you meet all these brilliant people.

“The amount of love and support I got from all those people was really nice. It’s amazing this little dog had all these people rooting for her."

“I can’t say enough good things about the team at DWR, I have never met such compassionate people.”

Poppy Bristow, head of cardiac surgery at DWR, said: “Blanche was a very challenging case but she was a real fighter.

“During Blanche’s time with us, our team all grew very fond of her and we’re so pleased she is doing really well back at home in the U.S.”

DWR launched its heart surgery service in October 2021 and has carried out 24 open heart operations since then.

Stories and infographics by ‘Talker Research’ are available to download & ready to use. Stories and videos by ‘Talker News’ are managed by SWNS. To license content for editorial or commercial use and to see the full scope of SWNS content, please email [email protected] or submit an inquiry via our contact form.

Top Talkers